Saturday, August 17, 2019

Poetry Reading! August 18, 2019 5-7 PM


We are heating the desert with the release of the 32nd issue of Cholla Needles!



On August 18, from 5-7 PM at Space Cowboy Books, YOU will be our featured reader! Come help us celebrate the arrival of issue 32!!! Any member of the community who wishes to be part of this celebration is encouraged to bring a poem or two to share! We all look forward to hearing your work! See you at Space Cowboy Books.

Brian Beatty On Vasko Popa

Borrowed Trouble: Micro Tribute to Vasko Popa (1922-1991)

I wouldn’t write at all if it weren’t for myriad writers before me whose works showed me what was possible. The poems of this series are small offerings of respect, of thanks, to those muses. – Brian Beatty



Animal shadows 
stalked me across 
a bustling downtown 

and in return 

the bright, shining noise 
of that same city haunted 
my animal dreams.

– Brian Beatty

Check it out!



Learn more about Vasko Popa:





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click here for more on this book
click for more on this book
NEW! Read the entire series of Borrowed Trouble by Brian Beatty anywhere you go by buying the collection of all sixty poems today! You've enjoyed these poetic tributes on-line, now enjoy them everywhere!


Brian's recent collections of poetry are Dust and Stars: Miniatures and Brazil, Indiana


Don't miss Brian's columns on great poets: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Tobi Alfier - Back-to-School Challenge


No matter how long you’ve been writing, how many classes you’ve taken, workshops you’ve attended, books you’ve read… every day you learn something new. It may be big. It may be small, but it all goes toward making you a stronger writer. Even hearing a new phrase in line at the grocery store that would be perfect for what you’re working on—it all goes toward making your writing a better version of you.

This is my back-to-school challenge for you:

  1. Assuming you have kept most everything you’ve ever written, go back and get the earliest four pieces of writing you have. If it was in the typewriter days, like mine was, grab it out of the filing cabinet.  Ohhhh, those pages smell so good! But I digress.

get yours now - $3.75
  1. Read it. Don’t cringe. It doesn’t matter if it’s part of a novel, short fiction, memoir, poem, or journal entry. I bet you a Cholla Needles lined blank notebook that what you’ve learned can make it better.

  1. Pick one and put it on your computer. Even if you like to write and edit by hand, should you decide to submit this somewhere, it has to be on the computer anyway. So reminisce about your old Commodore 64 for a minute and start typing.

  1. Now, look at it. You know you can make it better. All the things I’ve been saying over the last year and a half...check the line breaks, check your tenses, check your punctuation, fix your em dashes. Even check that the spacing after your periods is consistent. Your voice has probably stayed close to the same, so you have a great place to start.  Edit away!

  1. Include it as part of your next submission. It may be a little different, but just as good as what you’re submitting now. I recently had a 35-year-old poem published. It was revised, it was written before there were cell phones or computers, and it was accepted by a good print journal.

So whether you’re a parent, grandparent, professor, student, crossing guard or school bus driver, we’re coming up on a busy week. You probably have to clean out your cabinets anyway, look for your old writing.

And if you just want to enjoy the end of summer, that’s fair too.

I’m writing a short post this week to give you the gift of time, but don’t forget the challenge! xo

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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Brian Beatty On Jim Carroll

Borrowed Trouble: Micro Tribute to Jim Carroll (1949-2009)

I wouldn’t write at all if it weren’t for myriad writers before me whose works showed me what was possible. The poems of this series are small offerings of respect, of thanks, to those muses. – Brian Beatty

Jim Carroll

Flattened basketballs 
always reminded me
of Halloween pumpkins
smashed in the street.

Gangs of so-called toughs 
hide in the neighborhood shadows,
collective breath held in prayer.

Mothers at home have no idea
where their little boys have gone.

Vultures and priests claim the dead.  

– Brian Beatty


Click to see more


Learn more about Jim Carroll:








- - - -


click here for more on this book
click for more on this book
NEW! Read the entire series of Borrowed Trouble by Brian Beatty anywhere you go by buying the collection of all sixty poems today! You've enjoyed these poetic tributes on-line, now enjoy them everywhere!


Brian's recent collections of poetry are Dust and Stars: Miniatures and Brazil, Indiana


Don't miss Brian's columns on great poets: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Tobi Alfier - Writing with a Goal in Mind


Most of the time I will be the first person to say you should not write for an audience, you should write for yourself. I really believe that. But two things happened this week to remind me that sometimes I don’t do that, and sometimes you won’t want to do that either.

A friend of mine who you have met in a prior blog post, had a poem accepted by The Rye Whiskey Review. This is a woman who now lives in Indiana. She had given up all hope that she would ever be published in North Carolina, and did not know that Rye Whiskey was based there. When I told her, her response was “No. Wait! Are you telling me I've just been published by a North Carolina literary journal????? OMG. Holy cow! Woot! Happy dance all over the place. Accepted for the first time by my home state!!!! OMG.”
Another friend of mine who you have also met in a prior blog post told me yesterday “For some reason, I really want to get published in Vermont” (because she went there one time and really loved it). She went on to say that she’d really like to get published in a state university literary review, and “I think it would be so funny to get in to North Dakota”.
Think of these end results as goals, more than audiences.
I know there are some journals who will never publish me. I don’t write in a way that matches their aesthetics. I try every couple of years, and am pleased to report they remain consistent, and so do I.
While my two friends think about where they’d like to be published, I think about it a different way. I want to be published with Jeff. I love when we are published together. It may sound silly, but it makes me happy to see both our names on a back cover or Table of Contents.
Jeff and I don’t write the same, and we don’t have the same poem triggers, so the first thing I have to do, and the first thing we all should do, is READ THE GUIDELINES!
Let’s talk about Sport Literate. I wrote about them in my post of March 19th but from a different angle. Jeff has been published by them multiple times. I couldn’t write a sports poem if you gave me a thousand dollars! Okay, I could write a gymnastics poem, but I don’t think “beam and bars” is very poetic, nor do I think falling asleep at a World Series game has much to say for it.
Thank goodness I looked at “about us” on the Sport Literate website. It says “Sprung from the 12th floor of Columbia College Chicago in 1995, Sport Literate, is a literary journal focusing on “honest reflections on life’s leisurely diversions.” Praying for a broad definition of “life’s leisurely diversions”, I jumped in.


Katie Caldwell Meets a Plumber at the Muscle Car Dance

Squat-bodied Chevys plant themselves
like a garden of boiling colors –
the red not seen in 50 years
and a green so old it makes nostalgia
feel young.

She follows the hood ornaments to the dance floor,
a blues band tuning up, that particular
beat that says I’ll sing about anything and you’ll
crave it.  All the longing you’ll ever need.

You can awkwardly dance to it,
or look around.  And look around she does.
He’s got 10 years on her if a day,
graceful in that dirty torn t-shirt kind of way
that says he’s a working man,
taking a break from the present to drift back
to his past,

when Saturday nights meant shine her up,
race her reckless, then get the girl.
And she wants to be that girl.  Cherry-red
lips and a yellow dress match anywhere
she ends up.

Life was more unhardened then, the danger
more in their minds, adrenaline
churning and a pack of smokes hiding
in the glove box for later.

She can still do that high-school sidle,
she is by his side in a heartbeat.
The blues makes him talkative; the ex
and his girls live three states away, he’s
been here all his life, has a good business
left from his father, and a dog.

She takes his hand, dances gracefully among
the clowning tourists, visitors to this world
in plaid shorts and wrist bands. And in that dance
she becomes everything to him.  Don’t matter
nothin’ ‘bout tomorrow.  He knows she’ll be there,
sure as the dice hanging from the rear-view.
  
(previously published in Sport Literate)

Holy cow, it’s not just about baseball! Muscle cars are a leisurely diversion. Would I like to be in Sport Lit again? Heck yes, but I have to write those poems first, and I haven’t.

When you take a look at some of the odd themes out there, I’d be scared if you had poems on theme without tweaking something you already have, or writing something new. Usually that’s called “editing”. In my opinion, poems are fluid until they’re published. If you have to bend something a tiny bit to get that square peg into a round hole while keeping your voice and your heart, and that allows you to be published in your home state, or published with your husband, how cool is that?

BUT… There are some journals I love, that Jeff doesn’t submit to, and vice versa. There are some that accept me and not him, and more that accept him and not me. It doesn’t matter, it’s not a contest.

Continue to write your own beautiful way, and don’t lower your standards for anything.  Read the guidelines. Submit where appropriate for you. And if you have a goal, whatever that may be, don’t be blind to other opportunities, and the very best of luck to you.

And please send a comment below so we can all do the happy dance with you!!!



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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

August Issue Released! Cholla Needles 32 =:-)


The beautiful cover and inner photography is by Sarah Soos

The wonderful writing between the covers of Issue 32 is written by:

MaĆ­a
Dave Maresh
Francene Kaplan
Casey Killingsworth
Katia Aoun Hage
Mitchell K. Grabois
Romaine Washington
David Chorlton
Maria A. Arana
Sam Schraeger
Laurie Byro



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Rainbow Stew, Space Cowboy, JT Coffee, and Raven's Books. 
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